Jack Higgins – The Savage Day

‘You get the truck started,’ I called. 1 want to im-mobiuze the engine, just in case anyone gets ideas.’

I got what I needed from the wheelhouse, went aft, and took off the engine hatch and did what I had to do. It only took me two or three minutes, but in spite of that

Binnie was waiting in an agony of impatience at the edge of the jetty.

Tor God’s sake, Major, will you hurry.’

The second of the two men he had killed was lying face down near the truck. There was a Browning on the ground beside him. I picked it up, slipped it into my pocket and heaved myself painfully into die cab.

*Now what ?’ Binnie demanded as he drove away.

I felt strangely lightheaded and my side was beginning to hurt like hell again and for some reason I found his question rather irritating.

I said, ‘As I don’t happen to have my Tarot cards with me I can’t answer that one, so just get us up to the house in one piece, there’s a good kd, and we’ll take it from there.’

He glanced at me frowning, opened his mouth to speak and obviously thought better of it. I leaned back in my seat and fought against the tiredness which threatened to overwhelm me.

We drove into the courtyard at the rear of the house very fast indeed and braked to a halt outside the back door. Binnie jumped down and was inside in a second. I summoned up my kst reserves of will-power and energy and followed him.

He kicked open the kitchen door and went in, crouching. There was only one occupant, a man in shirtsleeves who sat at the table drinking tea and reading a newspaper.

Binnie had him against the wall in a flash and ran his hand over him, removing a Browning from the hip pocket and shoving it into his own waistband. He turned the man round and slapped him across the face.

‘Right, Keenan, you bastard. Tell us what we want to know or I’ll give it to you now.’

Keenan stared Death in the face and started to tremble. ‘For God’s sake, Binnie, take it easy, will you ?’

‘All right,’ I said. ‘Speak up and you won’t get hurt. Who else is in the house at the moment?’

‘Just Barry.’

‘And who’s guarding the girl?’ Binnie demanded, ramming the muzzle of the Browning up under Keenan’s chin.

‘No one, Binnie, no one.’ Keenan was shaking with fear. ‘There’s no need and her with Batty himself like always.’

Binnie was beside himself with rage and grabbed Keenan by the shirt-front. ‘Come on then, lead us to them. Make any kind of wrong move and I’ll kill you.’

‘Just a moment, Binnie,’ I said, and turned to Keenan. ‘What about the Brigadier ? Is he still in the cellar ?’

‘That’s right.’

‘Where’s the key?’

‘Hanging on that nail there.’

I took it down. ‘We’ll get him out now before we go any further.’

‘Why should we, for Christ’s sake ?’ Binnie exploded.

‘He could be useful. If not now, later.’

Which was pretty thin, but the best I could do on short notice. I went out before he could argue, opened the door at the end of the passage and went down the cellar steps.

When I unlocked the door of the cell, the Brigadier was lying on the cot reading a book which looked suspiciously like the Bible. He looked at me calmly for a long moment over the top of it, then sat up.

‘I must say you’ve taken your own sweet time about it. What kept you?’

‘Oh, little, unimportant things like being shot in the arm and having my ribs kicked in, not to mention being chased over large parts of Ulster by what seemed, on occasion, to be the entire strength of the present British Army.’

‘And at exactly what stage in the affair are we now ?’

‘Michael Cork is dead, I’ve found your gold, and Binnie Gallagher and I are about to see what we can do about Barry right now.’ I took the spare Browning from my pocket and offered it to him. ‘If you’d care to join in the fun, follow me, only keep that out of sight for the moment. I’m afraid Binnie thinks I’m Pearse, Connolly and Michael Collins all rolled into one. Very sad/

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